12 Reasons to Say No
Have you ever felt extra stressed, annoyed, frustrated and disappointed because you said yes when you should’ve said no?
It steals your time and effort that you could’ve used to support your goals.
It makes you feel like a victim.
You say yes to doing something but end up not being able to deliver on time, or submit a weak output, or completely fail to make it to an event you promised to help set-up.
How will that make others feel — the people who depended on you because you said yes? They will be disappointed, they may be angry, they might feel like you cannot be trusted.
There are so many negative consequences that are unnecessary when you say yes to the wrong things. Let me emphasize the word : unnecessary! So many unnecessary consequences that could’ve been avoided if you only decided to say no.
But it all boils down to choices.
When you feel all these things weighing you down, tell yourself that you are responsible for all the consequences of your responses. You are responsible for your yes. And you are responsible for your no.
It’s so much easier for me to say yes. Saying no takes so much effort, but it’s worth it.
If you want to be successful in life, you need to know when to say no.
For us to be able to say no, it helps when we understand our inner intentions of saying yes when somewhere, somehow, you know that you really should’ve said no.
This awareness can help provide clarity of intentions and we become more authentic and accountable to ourselves.
Find out if any of the reasons we will be enumerating here applies to you. When it does, then you’ll know what to do.
Here are 12 Reasons to Say No.
1. WRONG KIND OF GUILT
We feel some misplaced guilt thinking that if we say no to someone who’s important to us, then that means they’re not worth our time and effort. So, saying no is like telling them you’re taking them for granted.
You cannot love others correctly if you don’t know how to love yourself the right way first. Saying no in the right situation, does not make you a bad person.
Okay, let’s say you have free time and a friend asks for your help. But instead of helping, you spent twelve hours straight playing games on your phone, and then make an excuse for not being there for your friend. In this situation, you should feel guilty! Twelve hours playing and zero time for your friend-in-need should make you feel guilty.
But when you’re reviewing for an exam and your friend asks you to help her choose items to buy online, it’s perfectly okay to say no. Tell her that you appreciate how she trusts your good sense of style but you’re focused on studying at the moment for tomorrow’s test. If she blames you for her wrong choice of item, that’s on her. No need to feel guilty about it, brush it off. Thank yourself for choosing to spend time for reviewing which is aligned with your goals.
2. FAKE SENSE OF WORTH
For those people who associate their worth with their image or how much people like them, they have a tendency to say yes all the time. They think that when they are well-liked then their value increases, their confidence, their self-esteem. That is a fake sense of worth.
That is the perfect ingredient for disaster.
When you say no, there will be people who might judge you, criticize you or say not-so-nice things about you. When that happens, you might feel like your worth has decreased. But that’s not true. Find a way to have healthy self-talk and know that your worth will never ever increase or decrease based on how people see you or what they say about you.
When people admire you, your worth does not increase.
When people criticize you, your worth does not decrease.
Thinking otherwise would mean vanity. And this is wrong.
Vanity is not self-love.
Vanity says, I love myself because I am beautiful.
But Self-Love says, I am beautiful because I love myself.
Vanity distorts and destroys the true essence of correct self-love.
Unless you correct your mindset about where your worth comes from, then you will continue hurting yourself and disappointing others again and again and again.
Your worth comes from within. Always tell yourself that you are priceless and that you will always be enough. Tell that to yourself every single day until you believe it.
Examine your intentions. Do not say yes to something if your true intention is only about your hunger for attention, to have an attractive image. You will be feeding a narcissistic monster inside you if you do that.
3. BLINDED PRIORITIES
What are your priorities? It’s best to list them down so you can avoid making wrong decisions.
If you don’t know the order of your priorities, you can get them mixed up and you might mess it up.
Example. Your boss asks you to help the team by performing for a group dance number in the company event, and you say yes, because part of your priority is helping the team. That sounds okay so far. Your intention sounds good… BUT wait!!! Helping your team this way IS NOT YOUR TOP PRIORITY, finishing your quarterly report is actually more important for your work, for your team and for the company.
So what happens? After your work shift, you start attending rehearsals for the performance. You did this every single day. You prepared your costume. Until finally, you gave an excellent performance during the company event. But, at what expense?
Here’s the consequence…you weren’t able to finish your quarterly report. This is a requirement in your job, while performing for the event is not a requirement. You receive a low mark on your assessment because of missing your deadline. You could’ve put in extra hours for finishing your report, but instead, that time was spent on dance rehearsals.
Because you said yes to performing, you gave yourself a no to finishing your quarterly report. Both happened in the workplace.
So remember, know your order of priorities and use that as your guide when making decisions.
4. FEAR OF REJECTION
We don’t want to let people down, and when we say no, we’re afraid that some of our friends may leave us or avoid us. Worse, they might even unfriend us. They might think we can’t be depended on when they need help. Is that how you think? If you need help and your friend has his hands full, will you take it against him and leave him?
If you ask me, that’s pretty immature.
Real friendship is deeper than that.
If you’re that kind of a friend, I think you need to reassess your definition of friendship. And if you have those kinds of friends, well, those aren’t real friends.
Friendship involves empathy, understanding your needs and the needs of others and finding balance.
If you’re saying yes because you’re afraid of rejection, while there other matters you need to attend to, then it’s best to say no.
There are times when you think opportunities are coming and you just want to grab all of them. Not all opportunities are going to bring you success.
Integrity, dependability, professionalism and honesty are very important qualities one should possess to be successful. Greed is not part of them.
If you have a client who expects you to finish a project next week, but then, another person comes along who offers you twice the price you’ll make with the original client — what do you do?
Will you choose the new client who will pay more and end up delaying the submission of the original project you’re working on?
Don’t do that.
Say no to the new project and honor your first commitment.
6. FOMO or Fear of Missing Out
Your closest friends invited you to an unplanned virtual movie night. It’s going to be fun and you guys will talk about the movie highlights after watching. It’s bonding with the buddies. But, you’re also preparing for a presentation the next day.
What do you do?
You don’t want to miss out and get left behind. They will be talking about the movie, their experiences related to it, make jokes and have a great time. If you say no, you might feel out of place when they exchange messages on the group chat, and you might not understand what they will be talking about on the next group video call.
I believe that we all have this inner longing to feel that we belong. It’s an instinct to be part of a pack to seek comfort, protection and security. But we have to go beyond that and look at the bigger picture.
Saying yes to the movie night means saying no to you being able to prepare excellently for your presentation.
Always remember that. When you say yes to something, you automatically say no to something else. And when you say no to something you create space for a yes for something that you actually need.
We need to make sacrifices to reach our goals. It’s okay to say no to the movie night so you can say yes to preparing for your presentation. You can suggest to your friends to plan ahead next time so you can better work around with your schedule and have balance.
7. MANIPULATING PEOPLE WITH EXCUSES
Excuses are reasons or explanations to justify a fault. Excuses are also explanations used to hide the true reason for an action.
This may be difficult to admit, but I think a lot of us are guilty of this at one point in our lives.
We’ve said yes to doing something, when we actually had no intentions of carrying them out. And when it came to facing the music, we produced believable excuses to get us off the hook.
There are people, however, who are used to doing this. They confidently say yes, when they actually mean no, because they’re good at manipulating people with their excuses. Excuses that are mixed with truths, half-truths and lies, with the extra ingredient of acting to stir emotions and put on a great show.
Here’s an example. A friend promised to help you move your furniture over the weekend. By Friday, he tells you that he got into a fight with his parents and that he needs to stay home over the weekend to be with his family. He was very emotional about it. You might feel sad for his situation, you end up understanding him and you feel sorry for him.
But what if you knew, that somehow, this was his plan all along. To make you feel important by agreeing to help you, then put on a show to excuse himself from what he agreed to do? What if he orchestrated the whole thing and used whatever was available in his present situation as his believable excuse and add drama to it? What if he did it so well that he made it appear he was the victim in the scenario?
My answer? I would feel betrayed and I’d probably feel manipulated. I might want to distance myself from that friend or maybe tell him about how he made me feel. Friends don’t deceive friends.
Character is very important. Do not manipulate your friends. Do not manipulate people. It’s better so say no and be genuine, rather than put on a show. It doesn’t matter if you get caught or not. Do the right thing. The right time to do the right thing is always right now.
If you achieve success in your life because of manipulating others, then for me, that is not success because your heart is corrupted. Success should encompass every aspect of your life, including your values and principles.
So, just say no, and don’t manipulate.
Respect others, and respect yourself. Say what you mean and mean what you say. This is integrity and authenticity.
8. NEGLECTING SELF-CARE
Self-care is very important. It can be just spending time in bed, sleeping in, watching a movie, reading a book, or anything else that can help your mental health and recharge you.
That is part of your commitment to yourself.
When there’s an emergency and my sibling asks for my help to go to the hospital, then I believe that I should go and postpone that self-care time.
But, if my sibling asks me to go out and eat, then I can just say no. I’d explain that this is my time to relax and recharge in my own way and I hope that this this is respected. I would stand my ground politely.
Do not neglect self-care. Weigh the situation. Say no to others so you can say yes to self-care.
9. CORRUPTING VALUES
As much as possible, we try not to judge people. We accept them for who they are. But you need to be careful with the people you keep close and choose wisely.
Know your values, hold on to them.
When a close friend talks negatively about another friend and asks you to be his spy because he was lied to, what do you do? He asks you to hack an account? What do you do? He asks for screenshots of your conversations with this other friend that he hates. What do you do? When he asks for your help for him to get revenge, what do you do?
Whatever was done to your friend should never ever be reason enough for you to agree to do something that goes against your values. In essence, you are being asked to betray the trust of your other friend. Uphold your values, do not allow others to corrupt you.
Say no, even if he gets mad at you. Say no, even if he accuses you of taking sides. Say no, even if he says you’re not there for him when he needs you. Say no, even if he talks about the wrong things you did in the past that he supported. Say no, even when he says you owe him for doing you favors.
When you say no to doing what’s wrong, you say yes to doing what’s right.
10. HIGH EMOTIONS, CLOUDED JUDGMENT
It has been proven through countless studies that when a person is experiencing intense emotions, they will most likely make weak decisions.
Intense joy, excitement, fear, anger, shame, guilt. Any intense emotion.
This is also a marketing strategy used by companies to make people buy their products. They try to make you feel happy with their advertisements, videos and presentation until you finally say yes and buy something you don’t really need.
So whenever you’re in high emotions, do not say yes and do not say no. Pause. Think about the good and bad consequences before you decide.
11. LACKING CLARITY
Don’t immediately say yes to something if there are details lacking. You might have good intentions but in the end, you might feel regret.
Example. A foundation requested you to volunteer for their activity to help the homeless. You said yes because it was a noble endeavor and you thought they simply needed your time and effort. But to your surprise they expected you to buy 10 tables to be distributed to the beneficiaries using your own money.
You have bills to pay and you don’t have enough money for that. So next time, don’t assume.
Ask clarifying questions before you make a commitment.
12. SELF-INDULGENCE: Lack of self-control
Self-indulgence is different from self-love.
Self-indulgence is defined as excessive or unrestrained gratification of one’s own appetites, desires, or whims. Self-love has to do with one’s regard for his or her well-being and seeing the bigger picture of how to be genuinely happy.
Let’s say you want to go out, eat good food, drink with friends and have a good time. You might think it’s about making yourself happy and this is self-love. But think again.
So your friends invite you to go out for the weekend to relax and unwind. Nothing wrong with that, or so you might think. You said yes. You convinced yourself you deserve this. You guys rented a place, ordered food and drinks, had loads of fun. When it was time to pay for the bill, your jaw dropped and realized you just emptied your wallet.
You had to borrow money. The weeks that followed made you feel even worse because you had to borrow money again to pay for your rent and electricity. You feel miserable because you don’t have savings and your debts are growing And yet, you try to convince yourself that it was worth it. Was it?
The next weekend getaway your friends planned became awkward. You haven’t paid the money you owed and they didn’t want to lend you anymore.
Friend, that’s not self-love. That’s self-indulgence. Learn to practice self-control and learn to say no to things that you can’t afford as of the moment. If you truly love yourself, then you won’t allow your decisions to put you in a position where you’ll be buried in debt.
Say no to self-indulgence so you can say yes to self-control and correct self-love.
With all the 12 reasons we just talked about, I really hope you can be empowered the next time you’ll have to say no.
Raise your self-awareness and catch yourself in action when you’re about to say yes. Identify your true intentions.
Saying no doesn’t have to make you a bad person.
Uphold your values.
When you say no, don’t lie, make excuses or manipulate. Be direct and say what you have to say. Don’t apologize when there’s nothing to apologize for.
Don’t say “I’ll make it up to you” or “maybe next time” or make apologies that make the other person feel as if you owe him something, because you don’t. You don’t owe him anything. Because once you give your word that you’ll make it up to him the next time, then, you are giving him a promise that the next time he asks, he can claim that promise and you will be beholden to keep your word.
So just say no, and don’t make promises you can’t keep.
Success doesn’t come easy. If you want to be successful, you will have to do things above and beyond what you were used to. You will have to say no to some things, so you can say yes to bigger things.